Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolution: 6 Tips from Pixajoy
Like a new and unused notebook, the New Year is the perfect chance to get inspired and make changes to your lifestyle for the better. Since 2020 ended up being more of a flaming trainwreck than an actual year, it’s imperative to gain a sense of control in 2021. That’s why setting up a New Year’s Resolution this year is actually a great idea – especially when it comes to self-improvement (both physically and mentally).
The custom of making New Year’s Resolutions has been around since Babylonian times. According to the American Psychological Association, up to 93% of people set up New Year’s Resolutions; but due to a lack of willpower and self-control, 45% of them give up on their goals by February while only 19% can keep to their New Year’s Resolution for up to two years.
Why do people fail to stick to their resolutions?
According to Dr. Charles Herrick – Chair of Psychiatry at Nuvance Health, other factors that make sticking to your New Year’s Resolution difficult includes:
Difficulty in breaking old habits
- Your feelings, thoughts, and emotions related to an old habit (like eating junk food) can also contribute to making the habit satisfying even before you actually execute said habit.
Focusing on specific outcomes
- Many people become frustrated and eventually give up before reaching their goals because they are hyper-focused on achieving certain results in a short period of time. For example, wanting to lose 20kgs in one month. This is basically setting yourself up for failure as it can take certain periods of time before you’re able to achieve different outcomes.
Problems with purpose.
- If you’re setting up a New Year’s Resolution just for the sake of having one, you’re more likely to give up. Like most people, you’re probably busy and don’t have a lot of time to really focus on unnecessary things. So if you feel disconnected to your resolution or if it isn’t meaningful to you, you won’t be at all motivated to achieve them.
In order to make sticking to your New Year’s resolution much easier, you’ll need to take a more multifaceted approach. Here are 6 tips from Pixajoy that may help:
Prepare in Advance
As mentioned above, one of the reasons why we fail to stick to our New Year’s Resolution is because we often set them up on a whim. Sure it’s easy enough to declare your resolutions; some common ones including:
- Wanting to lose weight
- Wanting to exercise more
- Wanting to get organised
- Wanting to live life to the fullest
- Wanting to save/spend less money
- Wanting to travel more
But without fully understanding why you’d like to make those changes or achieve those resolutions, it’s almost impossible to stick to them.
Take, for example, wanting to live life to the fullest. If you don’t understand why you’d like to do so, you’ll fall back into the habit of putting things off and missing out on cool opportunities – like choosing to spend you off days indoors instead of doing an activity because it would be ‘troublesome’.
But don’t fret. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, those who set New Year’s Resolutions are 10 times more likely to make a change in their behaviours in comparison to those who don’t set up a resolution at all.
You just have to remember to prepare in advance and decide what you’d like to make a change, learn to do or do more and the reason why you’re doing it. Once that’s set, you’ll also be able to keep yourself accountable.
Wanting to achieve something big for your New Year’s Resolution can be a really compelling factor. For example, wanting to travel the whole world, becoming an Olympic cyclist or losing 20kgs (or enough to fit into those pair of skinny jeans you love). All these goals can be achieved with enough patience, dedication, perseverance and support from your trusted network of friends and family – but they require some time (meaning you won’t be able to achieve all these things in a short period of time).
Before setting your sights on such lofty dreams, try scaling them down to something more manageable (and therefore achievable). In reference to the second point on reasons why people fail to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions, focusing on specific outcomes can have negative effects and may even demotivate you from achieving your goals.
For example, if you fail to travel at all during the year due to extenuating factors (like the countries borders being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic) or just plain lack of time, you’ll begin to feel like setting up that particular new year’s resolution to travel more is simply unachievable; therefore losing motivation to continue it.
Instead, try scaling it down and make small steps to achieve that goal. If you’re not able to travel the world, why not start by travelling to all the states in your country first. In Malaysia itself, there are 13 states – each featuring their own unique landmarks, beautiful scenery and amazing food.
And surprisingly, not many Malaysians who have travelled to foreign countries have visited all 13 states. Depending on time and financial feasibility, travelling to all the states within your home country is much more achievable and can keep you motivated to achieve your dream resolution of travelling the world.
In short, breaking down lofty ideals into smaller parts can motivate people to actually achieve their goal.
The New Year feels like a new beginning. A lot of people feel elated, hopeful and inspired to try new things – oftentimes setting up rather lofty goals. Unfortunately, this practice of setting up big New Year’s Resolutions can sometimes lead to people biting off more than they can chew.
Let’s say during the coming new year, you plan on travelling more, living life to the fullest, exercise more, learning a foreign language and saving money. While some resolutions go hand-in-hand, such as living life to the fullest by staying in shape and going to the gym 3 times a week so that you can build up enough strength and energy to participate in more rugged activities while out travelling, trying to do everything all at once can prove to be impossible.
After all, travelling, gym memberships and language lessons all cost money (which negates your resolution to spend less) and trying to learn a new language while hitting up the gym, plus with your work/study load – it’s just too much to handle all at once!
Therefore, it’s better to prioritize one or two main goals first so that you’ll actually be able to achieve them and stick to your New Year’s Resolutions. You can always start learning how to speak Korean in June.
Track Your Progress
As a company that’s dedicated to celebrating your every achievement, we cannot stress enough how important it is to actually keep track of your progress. Whether you jot it down in a notebook or take photographs so that you can create a photo book collection of your progress, documenting your milestones can really help to keep you motivated when it comes to sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions.
Additionally, by keeping track of your progress, you’ll also be able to use it as a benchmark to see how far you’ve come. This works especially well if your New Year’s Resolutions involve things such as losing weight, eating healthier or even practising gratitude (so that you become more mindful of all the good there is in life).
Besides the psychological factor, keeping track of the progress of your New Year’s Resolution can also help you stay on track and ensure that you at least make a little progress over time instead of no progress at all.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for ways to keep yourself organised and on track, consider personalising a Deluxe Notebook to track your progress.
Another factor that makes sticking to your New Year’s Resolution a bit more tricky is our tendency to not want to give credit when it’s due. Quite a majority of people refuse to identify themselves as a ‘winner’ until they’ve sprinted past the last mile of their big dream marathon or until they’ve trimmed off every last unwanted inch across their waistline .
This bad habit can be particularly discouraging – especially if you’re the type who seeks out immediate proof for your efforts. What people need to realise is that change often happens in incrementals. Meaning you won’t actually see the results of your effort until some time has passed.
Thus, to encourage yourself to keep at it, be sure to take breaks to simply acknowledge all of the small and big steps you’ve made thus far in your journey to achieve your main goals.
Honestly, do a little victory dance when you manage to hammer out your daily 1600 words for NaNoWrimo or go on a weekend staycation when you complete your tasks for that big work project. The point is; you’ve worked hard to overcome the first few hurdles in the way of you achieving your main goals and you should remember to celebrate that.
To ‘err’ is to human – Alexander Pope
As human beings, there are bound to be times where you’ll slip up and fall off the metaphorical bandwagon. It’s normal – especially if the reason you’ve stumbled in your goal was due to factors beyond your control. Take the Covid-19 pandemic last year that basically threw everyone’s ‘get-fit’ goal onto the back burner. And even if you could have controlled those factors, that doesn’t mean that you’re absolutely not allowed to make mistakes!
You just need to remember that even if you’ve fallen off the bandwagon, it doesn’t mean you have to stay off! Just because you didn’t churn out the exact number of content you wanted for your social media post, or if you decided to splurge a little on your meal instead of sticking to your diet or budget – that doesn’t mean you should beat yourself about it to the point of giving up on your New Year’s Resolutions!
What you really need to do is remind yourself to stay positive and that you’ll do better in the next task. The important thing is to not let one slip up totally derail your entire year.
Remember: You got this!
To summarise, sticking to your New Year’s Resolution is not an impossible feat. It just takes a little bit of time, patience and positivity to ensure that you’ll be able to achieve all your goals.